… but not under military chain of command. That is one of Obama’s proposals. Little Green Footballs mentioned it here and linked to an article on the subject. But rather than reading quotes of Obama, take a look at this video of Obama talking about it himself:
In history there was a force that was just as powerful and well funded as the military, but not reporting to the military chain of command. In fact, it often was disliked by the regular military. Its name could be translated as "Protective Squadron" from its original language. In the original language it was called "Schutzstaffel". Its abbreviation SS is much better known. And it indeed was just as powerful as the Wehrmacht. It even had its own armored divisions. But it did not have its own air force: the SS fierce ideological convictions were no substitute for skills required for combat pilots. Still, the question remains: what exactly are Obama’s plans for this "civilian national security force"?
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That was a euphemistic name of the camp we were sent to when I finished 7th grade of school back in Odessa, in the former Soviet Union. We were sent to a collective farm to work in the fields for a week (or was it 2 weeks?). At the end of the school year we were required to write a letter of "request" to be sent to this camp. The letter was dictated to us in class. That was something we came to call "voluntary-mandatory", meaning that while "on paper" the required activity was voluntary, we really were not given any choice in the matter. Prior to 7th grade we were required to help in school with cleaning and repairs. Keep in mind that all that was cutting into summer vacation, so nobody was very anxious to participate in those activities.
Later, in college, we were sent to a collective farm for a month, usually in September. At least then it did not cut into the vacation time, and we were paid (although, very little). But it did cut into our studies, so part of the material had to be skipped.
So, why am I talking about it now? Because it looks like the "voluntary-mandatory" practices of my old country, that I thought I left behind and that I thought my children will never experience, are catching up with me. Enter President-Elect Barack Obama. On his transition site there is a section called "America Serves":
The Obama Administration will call on Americans to serve in order to meet the nation’s challenges. President-Elect Obama will expand national service programs like AmeriCorps and Peace Corps and will create a new Classroom Corps to help teachers in underserved schools, as well as a new Health Corps, Clean Energy Corps, and Veterans Corps. Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive (emphasis mine – Eric-Odessit) a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free. Obama will encourage retiring Americans to serve by improving programs available for individuals over age 55, while at the same time promoting youth programs such as Youth Build and Head Start.
Now, you might notice that it says "setting a goal", which does not sound too ominous. However, it appears that the wording has changed: it used to say "require". Original wording is available here. There is also further analysis of this proposal here and here. Do follow these links: they are very useful for understanding what might happen. There is also another article describing Rahm Emanuel’s, Obama’s new Chief of Staff, views:
"…Here’s how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They’ll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community, where they will learn what to do in the event of biochemical, nuclear or conventional attack; how to assist others in an evacuation; how to respond when a levee breaks or we’re hit by a natural disaster. These young people will be available to address their communities’ most pressing needs."
To be fair, there is an argument to be made that the community service requirement is not necessarily a bad idea. In fact it already exists to a certain extent on local level: my wife had to do it in order to get enough credit for acceptance into the SDSU Nursing School. Furthermore, there is an argument to be made that even Rahm Emanuel’s idea of compulsory civil service has some merit, especially during war time. However, these ideas have a lot of similarities with the old Soviet Union, to which I have to point out. Additionally, these ideas have a potential of generating some "buyer’s remorse" among the young people who were so enthusiastic about Obama’s Presidency.
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It’s been awhile since I last posted anything. Unfortunately I was too busy to post. Now I have a little bit of time, so I can describe my reaction to disastrous (for my side) election results. There is a number of reasons why I am extremely worried about the new administration. The most important one is not the one Obama directly responsible for: the cult of personality. On the other hand, I found (via LGF) a great article by Steven Den Beste:
…In the mean time, those of us who didn’t want Obama to be president have to accept that he is. And let’s not give in to the kind of paranoid fever dreams that have consumed the left for the last 8 years. Let us collectively take a vow tonight: no "Obama derangement syndrome". Obama is a politician. He isn’t the devil incarnate.
So what are the good sides of what just happened?
1. It is no longer possible for anyone to deny that the MSM is heavily biased. The MSM have been biased for decades but managed an illusion of fairness. That is no longer possible; the MSM have squandered their credibility during this campaign. They’ll never get that credibility back again.
2. Since the Democrats got nearly everything they hoped for in this campaign, they’ll have no excuses and will have to produce. They’ll have to reveal their true agenda — or else make clear that they don’t really have any beyond gaining power.
3. Every few decades the American people have to be reminded that peace only comes with strength. The next four years will be this generation’s lesson.
Now, a few predictions for the next four years:
1. Obama’s "hold out your hand to everyone" foreign policy is going to be a catastrophe. They’ll love it in Europe. They’re probably laughing their heads off about it in the middle east already.
2. The US hasn’t suffered a terrorist attack by al Qaeda since 9/11, but we’ll get at least one during Obama’s term.
3. We’re going to lose in Afghanistan.
4. Iran will get nuclear weapons. There will be nuclear war between Iran and Israel. (This is the only irreversibly terrible thing I see upcoming, and it’s very bad indeed.)
5. There will eventually be a press backlash against Obama which will make their treatment of Bush look mild. Partly that’s going to be because Obama is going to disappoint them just as much as all his other supporters. Partly it will be the MSM desperately trying to regain its own credibility, by trying to show that they’re not in his tank any longer. And because of that they are eventually going to do the reporting they should have done during this campaign, about Obama’s less-than-savory friends, and about voter fraud, and about illegal fund-raising, and about a lot of other things.
and 6. Obama will not be re-elected in 2012. He may even end up doing an LBJ and not even running again.
Do read it all. I agree with Steven Den Beste that there should be no "Obama Derangement Syndrome". But I don’t share his expectation that the media will turn on him. I am also not as optimistic about Republican 2012 prospective. I do hope that Obama lied through his teeth during the primaries in order to get the nomination. That is because his promises were so far to the left, that any deviation from them would necessarily move Obama closer to the center. In the meantime, those of us who disagree with Obama, while hoping that he would do well, should not hesitate to point out where we think he is wrong. And while I am not going to say that Obama is not my President, as many of the Left said about Bush, my "Nobama" sticker is not coming off my car. I might even add "Don’t blame me…" sticker to it. I do hope that all the dire predictions that I had and that Steven Den Beste has in his article won’t come true. But I do think that we are in for a rough ride for the next 4 years.
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